10 thoughts about one of my favorite followups ever, ‘The Best Man: The Final Chapters’

OPINION: The miniseries gave us an enjoyable and realistic look into the very adult lives of characters we met 20-plus years ago in the 1999 classic film, “The Best Man.”

(L-R) Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Malcolm D. Lee, Taye Diggs and Harold Perrineau attend Peacock's "The Best Man: The Final Chapters" premiere event at Hollywood Athletic Club on December 07, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I couldn’t wait for Dec. 22, 2022, to get here. For many, it was just three days before Christmas, but for me and many folks like myself, it was the day that we got the rest of the story in the form of “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” an almost-10 years later look at the lives of Harper, Jordan, Lance, Quentin, Murch, Shelby, Robyn and Candace, a crew we were all introduced to in 1999’s classic film, “The Best Man.” Not only was “The Best Man” an amazing movie, but it had a great cast in Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau, Melissa De Sousa, Sanaa Lathan and Regina Hall. The first two films (“The Best Man” and “The Best Man Holiday”) also starred Monica Calhoun as Mia, the wife of Lance who — spoiler alert — died of cancer in the latter film. 

As is the case with many movies, we often want to know what happened after the credits rolled, and we don’t always get an answer. “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” attempts to answer that question while bringing the characters right into the world the rest of us live in. Dear Malcolm Lee, thank you for caring enough to bring them all back; the series is the gift I didn’t even know I needed. 

With that said, I had some thoughts and opinions about the series as a whole that I felt compelled to share. And as they say, sharing is caring. Let’s get it.

1. I didn’t realize how much I cared about both the movies(s) and the characters. 

As it turns out, there was zero chance I wasn’t going to enjoy this series. When I saw people on social media — enough to notice — talking about how bad they thought it was, I was confused about whether we saw the same episodes. I loved what I saw. I loved seeing the Harp, Lance, Murch and Q back together again playing spades. I loved seeing them getting along in various shenanigans and being there for one another. I loved seeing Jordan being a boss. I even loved Shelby, something I NEVER thought I’d say (more on this later). I was so happy to see them all again that even though there are storylines I didn’t love, I’m glad they’re there so I could watch some of my favorite fictional characters traverse those waters. Point is, “The Best Man” has long been one of my favorite movies, and the crew is apparently comprised of people that I apparently view as real-life friends. Who knew?

2. It was also hilarious to see Nicole Ari Parker in the role of “The Unicorn.” 

Shouts out Nicole Ari Parker, yo. As ridiculous as the whole windup and payoff towards the wedding of Quentin and Shelby was, it was fun seeing Parker back in the saddle with Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan. If you’ll remember, Parker, Diggs and Lathan have history back from “Brown Sugar.” I enjoyed her. 

3. Quentin and Shelby becoming my favorite couple of the entire group was not on my bingo card. 

I couldn’t stand Shelby in the first two movies, which was clearly by design. But she and Quentin together were a great couple who truly loved one another and had each other’s back. Shelby was indeed trash for not telling Quentin that he had a daughter for all those years, but if he forgave her, I can’t stay mad. I even came around on Shelby, who was easily one of my favorite folks by the time it ended. But I think that’s also what happens when folks get real storylines and get to be seen as people instead of foils. 

4. Quentin (Howard) is the MVP. 

He put his entire foot into that performance as Quentin. 

Now that we got the good and easy stuff out of the way, let’s get to some controversy.

5. There were several storylines I didn’t care one bit about or thought were unnecessary. 

Here’s my list: Jordan’s ex-boo from college felt random and seemed tossed in to give Jordan some shot at love — me no likey; I didn’t like the Lance and LJ storyline, though I believe Lance would have acted exactly as he was portrayed, it felt a bit shoehorned as a way of making the series very reflective of current times; Murch the MMA fighter felt a bit like what happens when you have eight hours to work with and have to give everybody a storyline of sorts; and last but not least, I didn’t like Candace being sexually assaulted by the professor. All of those things felt like they could have been left out and we wouldn’t have lost a single thing. 

This gets me to my next point …

6. This series probably should have been six episodes. 

Look, I’d have been here for 28 episodes just so I could see my friends, but for the storylines put out there, I feel like they could have cut some of the fat (see No. 5), and the show would have been as fun and compelling but without plots that seemed less fleshed out. This isn’t a shot, by the way, I just think that they wanted to make sure everybody got a storyline and in order to do that they had to create plots that were a little harder for me to feel invested in. It’s fine, though. 

7. I don’t think this joint is getting a second season but let’s say it did. 

I don’t really see why we’d need more; I’m just fine with what we got, but the only folks I feel even remotely invested in, at this point, are Quentin and Shelby. To that end, I kind of never want to see Robyn again. I was not invested in their marriage working. Not that I think she’s a villain as social media is portraying her — the unilateral move to Ghana with her and Harp’s daughter, Mia, was epic-level trash — but she never quite fit in with the crew, and it’s time for that bird to fly. 

Speaking of the move to Ghana though, whew chile, the tension and anger seemed very honest and authentic, and I don’t blame Harp one bit for filing for custody. Also, for those folks saying that Ghana isn’t that far (it’s not like flying across the world), it’s still another continent, and short of moving, he’s going to see his daughter on VERY infrequent occasions. That would be difficult for ANY parent. Trust me, as a person who grew up like that — my sister and I moved to Germany when I was 6 and she was 3 to live with my father, leaving my mother in Michigan; I legit barely remember even talking with her as a child and we only saw her in the summer — there are many issues that arise later on. Cell phones and FaceTime, etc. mitigate some of that stuff, but if you’re separated from your kids for extended periods (even if domestically) it’s like they’ve grown into different people every time you see them. 

8. This might sound hater-ish but whatevs; I just can’t see Harper writing some deeply compelling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book, as he did with “Pieces of Us.” 

Listen, I like Harper, though I might like him least of everybody save for Robyn. But I just don’t see him as being that deep. I never have. I’m sure he’s a fine writer and all but I just … I just ain’t buy it. ALSO, him winning a Pulitizer was ALSO very unnecessary to the plot of the series, though it validated his insane need for validation … from white people. Harper’s entire essence was rooted in being respected and viewed as a credible author so, go awf, bro. Congrats to him, though. We’ll go ahead and add him to great Black authors (even if I don’t buy it). 

9. I mean this with my whole heart: I have zero interest in the Jordan-Harper “will they or won’t they” romance storyline.

I’m surprised at how much I don’t want them to ever end up together. Hell, she seemed to fit better with Lance than Harper at this point. It seemed like Jordan and Lance really seemed to have found a friendship since Mia passed. I was so glad when Jordan was like, “I won’t be your soft place to land,” to Harper. Plus, I need Jordan to find a real love that can keep up with her, and I just don’t think that’s Harper. Sidebar: When Jordan broke down when she found out she wasn’t pregnant, I truly felt for her. I also felt like Lance handled it well and think Harper would have muffled that entire “be there for your homie, thing.” 

10. I would really love to see the “Unfinished Business” movie. 

Malcolm Lee, let’s make that happen. As an aside, I found it so interesting how personally Harper took the criticism of the film considering how he literally had nothing to do with writing it or anything. I suppose he helped somewhere, but they kept pointing out how little control he had over it, yet he took it as a shot to him when folks hated it, though it killed at the box office. Still, I’d love to see that movie (with a better cast). 

Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.